Well, after months of putting what I need together, I am finally going to start Phase 1 of the first (mostly) all new build I've done in almost a decade.
The last time I "seriously" started a new build, it was late 2007/early 2008. I ended up leaving my job with T-Mobile in April of 2008 (long story) and thinks have been kind of sketchy since then, so any PC upgrade was as I could manage to squeeze it in, replacing single parts or trying to salvage what I had and keep limping along as best I could.
The only parts being transferred over my my current system will be the Zotac 1070 AMP! Extreme and a 2TB hard drive that used to be my games drive.
So for the new system I went with -
- Intel 8600K delidded and IHS replaced with the Rockit 88 IHS - This was delidded and the new IHS installed last weekend, I had a bit of a scare when only one DIMM slot was working, but managed to figure that out. Nothing was damaged on the CPU, testing under a dinky Cyrorig M9i air cooler went fine. It is sitting right next to me cranking out [email protected] work units @ 5GHZ 1.3V , ambient is 26C and the CPU cores are running between 55-60C. This will be water cooled, more on that later.
- Gigabyte Aorus Z370 Gaming 7 Motherboard. I chose those because overclocking is pretty good on it and it also had the three M.2 connectors I wanted, more on that later as well. And of all the motherboard brands I have used over the last 20+ years of building, I usually have fewer problems with Gigabyte than any other manufacturer.
- Memory. Ok, this is where my somewhat questionable choices start. Yes, I know that 32GB isn't really needed. I also went with slower DDR 2400. Let me explain. When I bought this it was right around the time of all the Black Friday sales and I managed to get a 32GB kit of GSkill Trident RGB for about $299. For the DDR 3000 it was about $100 more IIRC, and I was trying to maximize what I could get around sale time. Since then the same kit is over $400, so I at least dodged the further price increase. As to "Why 32GB", well...that was because I wanted to fill all the DIMM slots. Seriously. I have no better excuse. GSkill (and Corsair too, IIRC) don't (or didn't) have 4GB RGB parts where I could go 4x4. Oh well. It is a poor justification sure, but I am sticking with it. I am also pondering building a 2nd more basic Ryzen-based system (for non-gaming activities) in the near future so I might break that 4x8 kit and split it between systems in the future.
- Storage - Yes, I put two MX300 m.2 SSD in RAID0. The only reason for this is that I wanted to move my approx 1.5TB games folder onto an SSD. This goes back to why i chose the Gaming 7. I knew I wanted an NVME OS drive and to utilize the other M.2 connectors for my games drive, and this motherboard ticked all those boxes for me. The ONLY reason the two drives are in RAID0 is for size only, although they are decently quick as well in RAID0. Looking at the available M.2 SSDs on the market, once you go over that 1TB mark, things get expensive FAST. And since these drive cost me about $285 each, it was the best choice at the time. For the NVME OS SSD, I went with Plextor's M8PeG 128GB NVME ($99 at SuperBiiz) drive. Plenty of room for my OS, and the few programs I usually throw on the OS drive. Most of what I use will be on the games drive, with a the old games drive from my current PC moving over as my new "All my Stupid crap I never erase" drive. Oh, and I have a new 3TB Hitachi UltraStar 7K3000 for periodic backups, still evaluating options for offsite backups if the worst happens. I'll decide on that once I have everything up and running. So that will be 5 total drives, with a total storage of upwards of 7TB. Should get me by for a couple of months. 3 M.2 drives, 2 traditional HDD.
- Graphics card - this is the 2nd part I am carrying over, the 1st is the 2TB scratch drive, and the one I am kicking myself a little about. If I had started planning it earlier, I would have been able to pick up a GPU that would have been easier to find a waterblock for, but with the way Graphics cards prices skyrocketed late last year, I missed the chance here. So I will move it over, and maybe even be able to get it under a full cover water block as long as this Byski card I found indeed fits like it is supposed to.
- Display - really I could count the two monitors I am using as transfers from the old system, but I am thinking about going ultrawide curved in the future, so how long they stick around will depend on what I decide to go with monitor wise over the next few months. I would like to step up from the current 1920x1080 24" monitors I currently have, but size is critical for me. I work from home, so I currently have a 2x2 monitor arrangement, and the new display will need to fit in the limited space under my two work monitors.
- PSU- While I was tempted to stick with beQuiet! here, I have had a serious crush on the Seasonic Snow Silent 750W ever since I saw it and saw the stellar review it got on jonnyguru.com. Solid performer, fully modular and pretty as a fresh snow fall.
- Case - beQuiet Dark Base 700 - #1 reason for getting this case - inverted ATX. My current case is a Coolermaster STC-01 (OG STACKER, BABY!) It is a monster of a case, and ever since I inverted the mobo a few months after I got it (2006 or 2007), I never wanted to switch it back. I like having the case on my left, and my current desk setup (see my Walter White Home office link, that reminds me, I need to check the pics to make sure they are still there) and it is easy to see why my current desk favors the case being on the left side. The RGB lighting on the front was less of a checkbox for me, but as you may have gathered from the inclusion of RGB RAM...yeah, there will more RGB to come. I do wish the tempered glass side panel was not as tinted as it is, but I guess that will cut down on the OMGRGB glare when all is done. Right now, other than flipping to the inverted layout, nothing else has been altered on the case, that will be coming in Phase 2.
- Water cooling. I have water cooled for about 15 years now, and most of my current loop has been slowly getting upgrades as I needed them. Currently the 1070 is under a EK Thermosphere universal that I got when I was running dual MSI 650ti's up until I think around a year ago. The Thermesphere waterblock is good, but the 1070 AMP! Extreme is taller than reference 1070s, so I had to so into the ports a little weird and it is solution I was never happy with. I could have approached this a couple of different ways, as my new case will allow for vertical GPU mounting, but, well, pride reared it's ugly head here and I really didn't want the GPU water block and the copper heatskinks stuck onto the accesible RAM on the GPU to be THAT exposed. So I exposed myself to Aliexpress, ordered a Byski water block that is SUPPOSED to fit, and when that took too long, finally found one on Amazon that wouldn't take nearly as long to ship...and it arrived last night. As long as it fits, I will be good. Otherwise it is back to the Thermosphere and ugly routing of hardline tubing until I can replace that card and go full cover again.
So, the rest of the water cooling starts with a HardwareLabs 360 GTX which will be mounted up front. I briefly entertained the idea of going with 2 480 rads, one on top, on in front, but the GTX360 should cover my cooling needs of one Mobo monoblock and the GPU block easily. Speaking of monblocks, this was another reason to go with the Gigabyte Gaming 7 Z370, as EK does make a mono block for CPU and VRM cooling. So unlike my current Gigabyte mobo, I won't have to jury rig a better VRM cooling solution. Not that I have seen excessive heat issues on the motherboard as is. What else? Oh yeah, a 250 Bitspower res, D5 PWM pump and acrylic hardline 3/8ID 5/8OD. Fittings are Monsoon Economy hardline fittings, with a few odds and ends, like a 3 port splitter and finally putting a drain valve in one of my loops. Other than the hardline fittings, it is a mix of Barrow and Bitspower mostly, with a flow sensor and a temp sensor thrown in for giggles. Fans on the HL rad will be Cryorig QF120 PWM, which will be controlled by the case's included fan hub. Going back to the mobo for the PWM control rather than using the switch on the case front panel. I chose those fans because they were about $10 cheaper than anything else I was considering and have been happy with the performance of Cyrorig fans in the past. Fan coinfig on the rad will be a little strange at first, 5 fans on the rad, with 3 in push and 2 in pull due to limited space where the bottom shroud is on the case. I am also going to be using 2 Phanteks 140mm PWM fans, one up top and the other on the rear exhaust over the i/o panel. Those will probably be set to very low speed and left there. I will try a few fan curves and see how temps are. Although I don't expect much of a problem there.
lastly, as I mentioned about a month ago in the Water Cooling subforum, I am going away from over a decade of just distilled/biocide and will be using CryoChillz in Orange.
So that covers everything I needed for Phase 1, so today (as soon as I finish typing) I am finally going to get started, need to mount the EK CPU block, get the graphics card out of the current system (and see if this Byski block fits) and everything in the new case so I can start working on the tubing runs. Yes, it is also my first time with hardline tubing, but I ordered more than I need, so I should have enough tubing. And yes, I went Acrylic not PETG. Mostly due to the clarity that acrylic has over PETG although I doubt the end product would have looked too much different. Experimentation is fun.
So what will be in Phase 2, and why is there a phase 2? Pretty much one reason. Painting. Winter is still hanging on stubbornly here in Central Oregon, so I need to wait for better weather before I can turn the inside of the Dark Base 700 into the White Base 700. Outside of the case will be staying the stock brushed aluminum (most likely) but the inside will be all painted white. Although, I am considering repainting the white HL rad to orange, if I can find a shade that goes well with it. I am also planning on some interior plexi panels, most likely edge lit. how much of the theme "Hex" I work into that depends on how well I can realize a few ideas I have had into reality. Since my history of under performing is foremost in my mind, I will keep quiet on those to keep expectations low.
Other parts that I am planning on painting. The black metal edge of the EK block will be turning either white or orange. I also want to paint much of the motherboards plastic covers, over the I/O and so on. I picked a bunch of the Phanteks Halos RGB fan frames, and since they can be easily taken apart, those will be repainted as well, and I am undecided about the fan frames at this point. I have 2 12 packs of the Monsoon hardline fittings, in both white and orange, and once I have them in, I will be assessing a possible color change on them as well. Either all white or all orange depending on what looks better. Phase 2 will also be the cable sleeving extravaganza. Planning on full custom cables and sleeving for everything I can, with a theoretical white/orange/grey scheme. I still need to order some samples from cable-sleeving.com. Yeah, most likely going with MDPC-X.
As for the fans on the rad, as I mentioned in the water cooling section, I will initially only be able to fit 4 in push/pull and the 5th will be push only. Once everything is in the case, I will be able to see how much room I will have to trim back the metal portion of the basement shroud to fit a 6th fan. So that is undetermined for now.
And now dropping in a few crappy phone pics of how things are now with the mobo on the motherboard tray, it has been up and running since just after the start of the year, as I mentioned I have already done some preliminary overclocking, tested up to 5GHz using OCCT to stress with a little Prime 95 in there as well. I didn't run them for a very long time, but with ambient temps around 21C, after an hour in Primi95 Small FFTs I saw temps slightly above 70C after delidding and using the Rockit IHS. As I mentioned previously, with [email protected]
running, they were going only up to around 60C with an ambient a few degrees higher. Should perform well when it is watercooled.
My first naked die!
testing the delid - I have one of the Halos frames on the 140, you can see how well it lights up the fan blades. I really like the look.
And finally, the most important tool I picked up today to help me build -
Oh, bonus messy desk pic showing the current setup -